Street Photographs: 'Before, During and After' The Holocaust, 4/19

The Department of English Visiting Writers Committee in recognition of Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Ha-Shoah) announces Marianne Hirsch, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University and Leo Spitzer, Kathe Tappe Vernon Professor of History, Dartmouth College

"Street Photographs: 'Before, During and After' the Holocaust"
April 19 - 1:00 p.m.
University Hall - Room 1030

When historians, writers and artists turn to Eastern European photos from family albums or collections – photos from the decades preceding the Holocaust and the early years of World War II – they seek more than visual evidence of past events. Powerful “points of memory,” photographs signal a visceral connection to the past, carry its traces forward, and embody the very fractured process of its transmission. And yet photographs may also be limited and flawed historical documents, promising more than they can actually reveal. Focusing on photos of Jews taken by street photographers on the main avenues of Cernauti, Romania, we show how they challenge the "before, during and after" timeline of Holocaust historiography that we have come to accept as a given.

Marianne Hirsch is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University where she also has an appointment in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. Her recent publications include Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory (1997), The Familial Gaze (1999), a special issue of Signs on Gender and Cultural Memory ( 2002), and Teaching the Representation of the Holocaust (2004). Over the last few years, she has also published numerous articles on cultural memory, visuality and gender, particularly on the representation of World War Two and the Holocaust in literature, testimony and photography. Currently, she is writing a book with Leo Spitzer, Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory.

Leo Spritzer is the Kathe Tappe Vernon Professor of History at Dartmouth College and Visiting Professor of History at Columbia University. His recent publications include Hotel Bolivia: The Culture of Memory in a Refuge from Nazism (Hill & Wang 1998), Lives in Between: Assimilation and Marginality in Austria, Brazil and West Africa (Cambridge 1990, Hill & Wang 1999) and the co-edited Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present (UPNE 1999). He has also written numerous articles on Holocaust and Jewish refugee memory and its generational transmission. Currently, he is working on a new book, Ghosts of Home, with Marianne Hirsch.

For more information contact the English Department (973) 655-4274 or Jonathan Greenberg